Wobble of Death - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 11:48 AM Thread Starter
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Wobble of Death

Got the death wobble the other day. Took one hand off the bars and wobble slowly builds to the point where you better grab the bar again or die. Tore down front end and replaced the head bearings with new taped rollers. No noticeable problems found with existing bearings just a lack of grease. Back together and problem seems to be gone. Took about 6 hrs. to do the job. Had to cut the races to get them out.

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by tcheekva View Post
Got the death wobble the other day. Took one hand off the bars and wobble slowly builds to the point where you better grab the bar again or die. Tore down front end and replaced the head bearings with new taped rollers. No noticeable problems found with existing bearings just a lack of grease. Back together and problem seems to be gone. Took about 6 hrs. to do the job. Had to cut the races to get them out.
Did you use a new set of bearing from Kawi or did you use aftermarket. I don't have a "death wobble" but on the interstate at about 80 I do get a very very slight "shimmy" in the bars. I will be installing a 21 up front soon, I don't know if this will make it much worse.

I did read on the other board where someone said they used a higher quality aftermarket bearing set.

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 01:04 PM Thread Starter
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I used the All Balls roller bearings. i would not put the plastic KAW ones back in. part # 22-1039

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

2009 Classic LT 1700 avg 38mpg
Added factory cruise control
Converted to nomad exhaust
V&H Twin Slash Cut slipons
USA Trailer Store Fairing
HD Tour Pack
Avon Grips
Kuryakyn LongHorn Pegs
Mustang Wide Touring w/studs backrest
Throttle Body Gasket
Thunder Mfg OEM Cover BAK
Pipes wrapped
Ivans ECU Flash
Custom Trailer Hitch
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by tcheekva View Post
I used the All Balls roller bearings. i would not put the plastic KAW ones back in. part # 22-1039

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
I will save this thread incase I end up changing mine, I'm not mechanic so not sure if I can pull the job off alone in the garage lol

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 08:02 PM
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Found this online and better than cutting IMO

Race removal from motorcycle steering head
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h97vUOJI9gk

Or you can buy the tool for $35 approx http://www.ebay.com/itm/OTC-Steering...977339&vxp=mtr
I found it cheaper in UK and save a couple of buck since I can wait. I decided I will buy most (not all) of the special tools like the press just to make the job easier and not cuss.

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Last edited by Lumber-jack; 08-08-2016 at 10:40 PM.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-09-2016, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Lumber-jack View Post
Found this online and better than cutting IMO

Race removal from motorcycle steering head
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h97vUOJI9gk

Or you can buy the tool for $35 approx OTC Steering Neck Bearing Race Remover 4796 | eBay
I found it cheaper in UK and save a couple of buck since I can wait. I decided I will buy most (not all) of the special tools like the press just to make the job easier and not cuss.

how often should the bearing be replaced?

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-09-2016, 07:45 AM Thread Starter
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that tool would definitely have been easier than cutting, but I could not wait. In theory you should not have to replace the bearings. if greased should last the lifetime. most do, but some do not.

2009 Classic LT 1700 avg 38mpg
Added factory cruise control
Converted to nomad exhaust
V&H Twin Slash Cut slipons
USA Trailer Store Fairing
HD Tour Pack
Avon Grips
Kuryakyn LongHorn Pegs
Mustang Wide Touring w/studs backrest
Throttle Body Gasket
Thunder Mfg OEM Cover BAK
Pipes wrapped
Ivans ECU Flash
Custom Trailer Hitch
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-09-2016, 09:51 AM
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So I made the mistake of taking my hands off to test the other day and have wobble. However I have come to the conclusion that wobble and weave are inherent in all bikes - even with good bearings. A bike with bad bearings or nut torque will make it worse.

I am changing to "all balls" this winter even though they don't need to be changed as a winter project. I am buying some of the tools to make it easier and will use the old race to get new ones in probably. I still don't want to take the inner fairing off...

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-09-2016, 11:34 AM
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I had the wobble when my hands were off the bars even for a second. I could even feel it starting to wobble when hitting bumps and tar snakes. After extensive research this is what I did to fix the issue.

Get the front wheel off the ground and supported. Remove the handlebars and the triple tree. Remove the claw washer. Tighten the steering stem nut until the front wheel binds when turning it. Loosen the steering stem nut just enough for the front wheel to turn freely. Put it back together and test ride.

I am writing this from memory so the details are a bit sketchy. Use the manual for each step except for the torque spec. Instead of that use this procedure.

I have put hundreds of miles on since doing this and I have no sign of wobble at any speed.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-09-2016, 11:59 AM
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Sounds about right. You can also do the "bounce test" to check tightness. However, I can't get at the nut properly with my spanner wrench (for a shock) without hitting fairing when trying to turn - I am not pulling the entire fairing off. I have ordered a fabricated socket specific for this and will confirm.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chykal View Post
I had the wobble when my hands were off the bars even for a second. I could even feel it starting to wobble when hitting bumps and tar snakes. After extensive research this is what I did to fix the issue.

Get the front wheel off the ground and supported. Remove the handlebars and the triple tree. Remove the claw washer. Tighten the steering stem nut until the front wheel binds when turning it. Loosen the steering stem nut just enough for the front wheel to turn freely. Put it back together and test ride.

I am writing this from memory so the details are a bit sketchy. Use the manual for each step except for the torque spec. Instead of that use this procedure.

I have put hundreds of miles on since doing this and I have no sign of wobble at any speed.

_________________________________

"If you want to feel smart, get stupid freinds..."
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